Interview with KATHLEEN ROSE PERKINS | My Joy is To Be Part of a Story That Resonates With Me
We all are storytellers; we all share stories with each other as well as with ourselves by thinking about different scenarios that haven’t yet arrived as our physicality.
Those stories shape our perspective and become that which we believe to be the truth within ourselves or in the world.
A spectrum of emotions arise depending on what we tell and those, in turn, indicate in which direction we project our focus. A good and satisfying story is the one that profoundly resonates with the whole of who we are.
Actress Kathleen Rose Perkins who can be seen as Maggie Novak on Netflix series I am Not OK with This says, “A story, a really well-told story, with a beginning, middle, and satisfying end is, to me, one of the most insatiable things in the world. I can’t get enough of a good story.”
In this inspiring interview with Kathleen, you will discover her passion for storytelling, as well as her journey to be the person and actress she wants to be.
- Please introduce yourself briefly. Who, in your own words, is Kathleen Rose Perkins?
I’m Kathleen Rose Perkins. I’ve been making a living as an actress, producer, and writer in film and television for the last seventeen years. I’m also a fourth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I have four older brothers. I’m from Michigan. I’ve been with a man I am not married to for over twenty years. And, I have a pet African Grey parrot named Luke. Oh, and I have been to forty-five of the sixty-two American national parks. Hope to hit the other seventeen before I die.
- There is a shift in mindset where talents are keener to express themselves creatively in diverse disciplines within the entertainment industry. Why do you think this is happening and how do you envision the industry’s future?
The creative people in this industry are storytellers. Plain and simple. But what we’re noticing lately is that there is a widening definition of the word “story,” and there’s a diverse choice of platforms on which to tell your stories. The rules are changing. Better yet, the rules are disappearing. Now you can tell a dramatic story in a half-hour on a streaming channel, or you can tell a comedic story in an hour on a broadcast network with commercial interruptions, or you can tell a dramatic, funny, supernatural, family, faith-based story in ten-minute increments on a smartphone. Anything goes. It’s truly “art fluid” commerce. I think the commerce part of this business is wising up to the fact that audiences will watch anything that has a true creative vision. Audiences are smart, and they crave stories that make them think as well as stories that entertain.
The future of the industry will thrive. The only way to make sure you as an individual will thrive WITHIN the industry is to trust in the story you are telling. No matter what format, or length, or platform. That’s how you create longevity in the ever-changing field of art commerce.
- On Netflix series I am Not OK with This, you play Maggie Novak, a single mom of a teenage girl Sydney (Sophia Lillis) who is discovering herself. How would you describe your emotional journey during the process of becoming Maggie?
In order to “become” Maggie, I had to lose a lot of my default programming. I’m a nervous, bubbly, emotional, giggly person by nature. Maggie is definitely not that. I had to quiet myself. And I had to busy myself with work. That was my “way in” to portraying this woman. The one thing me and Maggie have in common is that we really know how to “work.” We’re both worker bees. So, in practically every scene, I had a task to do, whether it be making a cup of coffee, picking up laundry, wiping down a counter, or drinking a glass of wine. Doing. That’s the thing I share with Maggie. So, I did. That took care of the physical part. The mental part was taken care of by reminding myself of what this woman’s history entailed. A working mom with a husband who recently killed himself. I can empathize with that. I could then understand her motive, her emotional blind spot, her damage, her denial, her fear. She’s a good woman who has been through a lot of trauma and she is trying to provide a life for her and her children and trying desperately to hold her family together… by herself.
- Has playing Maggie given you any new insights or perspectives on being a parent?
I’m not a parent. So, the biggest insight playing this role has given me is that I can fully empathize with how diﬃcult it must be to raise teenagers. And I am thankful I chose not to do it. I don’t think I have the stamina and patience it takes. It seems so hard!
- How would you describe the dynamics to create an intimate connection between you and Sophia on set and make your characters believable to yourself and the audience?
It’s kind of great when you show up on set and you quickly realize that your scene partner is a professional. No matter what age. There’s no “acting exercises” or “scene work” that you have to do in order to bring a scene and a relationship to life. You both just know what’s supposed to happen. I showed up on the set of I am Not OK with This, and Sophia knew exactly how to be this particular character in regard to this other woman who was playing her mom in this particular storyline. It was easy. I mean, it wasn’t easy… it’s what we get paid to do. It’s our job. It was a relief and a delight to work with Sophia.
- How do you think I am Not OK with This relate to our society? What would you like the audience to take away from watching the show?
I am Not OK with This is about many things, one of them being mental health, especially around loss and grief. And managing anger. That seems so prevalent in our society right now. There is tension and divisive rhetoric and fear and grief everywhere we look, it seems. I like that the show weirdly promotes the idea of “mind power.” We spend a lot of time in Sydney’s brain, and of course, she has the ability to control things with her mind with her “superpower”. But the idea that we can “think” our way into a better place, I like that message. And in a weird, fun, quirky way, I think this show is trying to send that message to its viewers.
WRITING AND PRODUCING
- How did the process of being an Executive Producer of the indie film The Better Half has enhanced your acting skills, and vice versa?
Being an Executive Producer on a project that you are acting in or writing is pretty empowering. It definitely gives you a bigger stake in the project. And it makes you want to do your best work so that you can help the project succeed. The Better Half was one of the first projects that I received EP credit… and it definitely planted the bug in me. I want to create projects from the ground up, not solely to have more control, but because I also want the responsibility of being in a leadership position.
- Writing is also one of your passions. How does it feel when words flow through you and to you becoming a story?
Writing has become what acting once was to me. It’s a challenge. It’s a skill that has to be honed. It’s a lot of work. I love it and I am learning how to do it. The feeling of getting on a roll, sitting in front of my computer, typing away… it is the most satisfying feeling I have these days. And then sharing my writing with people, it’s the most terrifying feeling I have these days. I used to get that from being on a set. But time and experience have changed how I regard acting. It’s my job. My skill. My livelihood. But writing has become my passion. As corny as that may sound. And it’s really important for me to pursue writing at this time. I truly believe that writing is where my future lies.
- Are you connected to any humanitarian cause that you would like to mention?
I regularly donate to Kiva. I love that organization. They loan money to small companies in underserved communities.
- The spirit of The Hedonist Magazine is The Essence of a Joyful Living. How does Joy during the creative process affect your own experience and in consequence the final manifestation of your actions?
A story, a really well-told story, with a beginning, middle, and satisfying end is, to me, one of the most insatiable things in the world. I can’t get enough of a good story. I’m truly honored when I get to be apart of telling a satisfying, thought-provoking, human story. I want to be “of service” in that process. In any capacity. Whether it be acting, writing, producing, or viewing. That’s what gives me true joy.
- When you hear: “You can be, do and have anything you want,” words by Abraham Hicks. What is your take on such a statement?
I willingly believe it. But I would add the addendum, “…if you put in the work.” It’s a call to arms. It signals to me to start doing the work. Go into “worker bee” mode. And it reminds me of my own personal motto, “You have no idea what I’m capable of.”